CV Writing: The difference being effort

Hannah's Photo by Hannah Rowbotham


We get sent a lot of CVs. This post aims to outline a few things that we’ve noticed about them and could be useful when writing yours.

Previous Experience

Only mention jobs that are relevant. 

It’s no use writing about a paper round you once had and how it taught you valuable life-skills. 

Everyone I knew who had a paper round got driven around by their Mum because it was raining and the bag was too heavy. 

Although if that is the case, go ahead - include it and mention your Mum - it shows initiative and logical use of resources.

Interesting Interests

Lots of the CVs we read list “hobbies”. 

I’m not sure when ‘a thing that you do regularly’ becomes a ‘hobby’ but a lacklustre list of stuff you do is never a good thing. 

If you want to include this section then make sure you only list the things in your life that you truly enjoy and are passionate about. 

Everything else can be left off. 

Just because you don’t mention that you enjoy meeting up with friends doesn’t mean we’ll presume you’ve got none.

Your Story

Why do you want to work in the industry? What got you interested in the skills you’ve developed and what is it that keeps you wanting to learn more?

Skills

There seems to be a trend of rating skills as percentages or a progress bar. 

Some of the CVs even state that the person is “100% photoshop” or 10 out of 10 on InDesign. 

I’m not 100% of anything, especially not 100% skilled in a certain software. Although, if I was 100% photoshop then at least it would explain why “socialising” wasn’t in my hobbies list…

If you’re 80% skill level in something, it’s like saying there’s only 20% left to learn, which isn’t ever the case. Also, how do you know you’ve learned 80% of what there is to know? We 100% don’t understand it.

Spellcheck

Your CV is your opportunity to showcase your skills, passions and experience. Make sure it’s written well and spell-checked, especially if you claim to have a good eye for detail.

Make Contact

The emails we react best to are those that mention us. 

Attaching your CV and copy and pasting the same text for all of the companies you contact is a surefire way to let every company on your huge list know that they’re on a huge list. 

Even worse is when we’re part of the cc list in the email that goes out to everyone. 

Target your email to the right person within the company, introduce yourself and your current situation, and maybe even write about a project that you’ve seen and admire - show you’ve done your research and why you’re reaching out to them specifically. 

Also, by doing that initial research, you’ll soon recognise which of the companies you’d be best suited to - so spend more energy focusing on them instead of spreading yourself too thin.

If you have an online portfolio then lead with that. 

Or even better, come and show us. 

Keep adding to it with self initiated briefs, ask agencies for a trial project, or if there’s something you’d change on a past project then revisit it. 

Stay active and up to date. Make the effort - it’ll show.

Hope this helps.

Hannah


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